How to Choose Quality Children’s Books

Did you ever wonder how the Alberta Prairie (AB) C.O.W. Bus staff choose the books we give as a Legacy Library to every community we visit? Well, here is your chance to find out! Our shelves are stocked with a new selection of books to give to our partner communities this year.

Each Legacy Library consists of 50 different books – 15 hardcovers, 15 paperbacks, 15 board books, and five others that might include flashcards, a CD, or any other format of books we think families will enjoy. Last year we gave away 4350 books, so you can imagine how much time is spent choosing the books that we use in the AB C.O.W. program.

Choosing good quality children’s books can be difficult as there are no guidelines for what can be published as a children’s book. Not all books are appropriate for all children. At the Centre for Family Literacy, we try to keep three things in mind when we are considering the purchase of a new title. These tips are very helpful, especially when buying multicultural books because we may not be familiar with all aspects of different cultures.

1)   Is the book truthful and respectful?
2)   Would this book hurt or embarrass anyone?
3)   Does this book perpetuate a stereotype?

To help us choose good quality books that are age-appropriate, we keep in mind the following:

1)   How realistic are the pictures in board books?
2)   How wordy are the picture books?
3)   How well are the books are made?

When we see a new book from a familiar author, we generally know if the book will be a good fit for our program. A great example of this is Hervé Tullet’s newest book, Mix it Up! His previous book, Press Here, is a favourite of many of our facilitators and we knew that Mix it Up! wouldn’t disappoint us. Parents and children can explore the wonder of colours in a new, fun, interactive way.

Some of our favourite books that you can expect to see in the AB C.O.W. Legacy Libraries this year, from January to June, are:

1)   Mix it Up! by Hervé Tullet
2)   Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell
3)   Duck & Goose: It’s Time for Christmas! by Tad Hills
4)   The Very Best Daddy of All by Marion Dane Bauer
5)   Boy + Bot by Amy Dyckman

MixItUp Can't You Sleep? DuckGoose BestDaddy Boy&Bot

Remember, everyone does not have to like the same books. You know your children best, and what is okay for some children may not be okay for others. However if you enjoy the book, your children probably will too. Please share some of your favourite books with us!

Visit our website for free tip sheets on how to choose children’s books

Alberta Prairie C.O.W. Bus schedule

Make a donation to the Legacy Library

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